Past Review

By (Government, New Mexico State University) for

Pablo de Olavide University: Seville - Hispanic Studies Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to apprecaite other cultures, values and customs. I have changed my outlook and have realized that there is much more to the world than what we are taught in America. I would highly recommend studying abroad. It is challenging but is one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had. While you are at it, be sure and travel before of after school. I had a 2 week backpacking trip during Christmas break before returning home and that was the best time I have ever had. You will gain a new appreciation for nice people and will learn to make an effort with people who are out of their element. Also, you feel like life is so much easier when you return to America and everyone speaks English! My future plans have changed since I have studied abroad. I am much more interested in international politics and wish to pursue that in my career.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad Pablo de Olivade
The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had two classes that required a lot of reading. This was a disappointment because I did not expect to go to Spain and be spening a ton of time on homework

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Strengths: Good orientation session, I got into the classes that I wanted, good intercambio program, teachers are approachable Weaknesses: Lack of communication between NMSU and UPO, NMSU requires that your teachers write letters saying that they think you have passed your classes. UPO teachers would not do this and now our transcripts are not expected to be sent until the middle of February. This is a problem for our scholarships. Students from NMSU don't go with a study abroad program. This made us depend more heavily on the study abroad office at UPO. I felt that I was bothering them half of the times that I went in there to ask them a question.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was told by several people, including my host mom that we were staying in a bad part of Sevilla. I did not feel comfortable walking around my neighborhood at night. It was also difficult to go out at night. Since we were on the outskirts of town, it was hard to meet up with others at the center of the city if I was by myself.

* Food:

Spanish people eat a lot of fish, potatoes and bread. I liked the food selection in the restuarants but I did not like my host mom's food. She used lentils and would spread them out 3-4 days in a row. She seemed to go the cheapest route in terms of food. Also, the eating habits of the Spanish people are very different. They only eat toast in the morning, which did not fill me up. You don't eat lunch until 2 or 3 and then you don't eat dinner until 9 or 10. I ended up buying snacks because I would be too hungry to wait for the spread out meals. Also, my host mom did not want me snacking and this caused a few problems because I felt that I had paid enough to eat snacks if I needed them.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

UPO provides English/Spanish events that are very fun to attend. It is a great way to meet locals. Also, they are probably going to meet foreign students and it opens many windows to meet and hang out with new people. I did not have time to go on field trips because I would usually be traveling on the weekends. The students who did go seemed to enjoy the fieldtrips.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I did not have any health concerns while I was in Spain. The people who I knew had no problems with getting appointments with Drs. I would suggest finding a clinic as soon as you get into the city. This is much easier trying to navigate it than if you are throwing up and have a temperature and trying to find the clinic that your health insurance is accepted at.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make a budget and then add on about 1000 extra dollars. ATM fees really add up. Also, bus passes can be pricey. If you want a cell phone, consider that cost. If you want to go out, plan on paying for food or drinks. If you want to have wireless internet at your host family house, you can rent it out from We Love Spain and pay a monthly fee for it. If you plan on traveling a lot, have extra money for transportation costs around the cities. You will probably find cute clothes there that you would like to purchase- budget that, too!


Language acquisition improvement?

I do feel like my Spanish improved. It is helpful to live with a host family because you are forced to learn their language if you want to have any sort of communication with them. I had a roomate who spoke English and we would usually slip into speaking English with her while in our bedroom. This is hard not to do if you have a roomate. I feel like my Spanish would have improved more if I did not have an English-speaking roomate

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I feel that this particular program is hard. If you are going with NMSU, you are one of the few students who does not have a study abraod program. It was hard to meet people because they have already made their friends in their program. Also, programs planned many excursions for their students and it was easy to feel left out. My advice would be to choose a program that does not have all American students. You should choose a program that has international students, you will have a better experience.